Meditation Is Not What You Think

We don’t meditate to create any particular state or unusual experience, such as a state of calmness, or an experience of transcendence. Whenever we expect the meditation practice to produce a desirable state or experience, we are setting ourselves up to frustration. Our intention during meditation should be to remain open and observe whatever arises, without striving for anything special to happen, knowing that sometimes what arises can be quite disturbing and unsettling.

Sometimes the meditation will be easy and blissful, other times it will be difficult and tormenting, but we should be careful with our tendency to classify our meditations as good or bad. Not all pleasant meditations are good, and not all unpleasant ones are bad. A good meditation is one that gives the brain a good workout, develops focus, sharpens the ability to notice, and augments the appetite to investigate, discover, and learn.

Despite all the ups and downs we face during this journey of exploration through meditation, as long as we keep practicing, we will be moving forward, making progress, and developing our ability to live more mindfully, which is what will, in the end, improve the quality of our lives.

So, during meditation, don’t expect anything enjoyable or extraordinary to happen. If it happens, great! Enjoy it! The problem is not with the experience itself, but with the expectation and the strong impulse to control the process in order to produce certain results. The advice is, “Do not strive to produce any specific outcome. Let go and let it be. Expectation will lead to frustration. Just meditate without expectations, and trust that a regular and commited practice will bring about improvements in your life.”

By practicing regularly we will be developing this invaluable ability to more skillfully process the ups and downs in our lives — the good and the bad occurrences, the easy and the difficult situations, the pleasant and unpleasant experiences — with greater equanimity, balance, serenity, and ease. We will learn to reduce unnecessary reactivity and useless struggle, accept life as it presents itself, and use wise assessment and discernment to choose the best responses, all of them skills that are truly priceless.

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

 

The Way Out of Suffering

In order to alleviate suffering, the first thing we have to do is to cultivate the aspiration to know reality as it is. A lot of the suffering we experience comes from wrong perceptions, from not seeing things as they really are. In order to see clearly, we need to develop the ability to pay focused attention and sharpen our noticing skills. We need to examine life and do our best to consciously unlearn the unwholesome notions that we may have unconsciously learned. We need to remove those distorting lenses that impair clear vision, such as wrong ideas and beliefs.

We need to be careful with what we think, say, and do, because unwholesome thoughts, words, and actions create suffering. We must accept without hesitation that restraint, simplicity, and frugality, combined with selflessness, compassion, and a steadfast determination to do no harm, unequivocally eases suffering in the world.

It is by curbing reactivity and expanding the time between receiving a stimulus and choosing a response — which is put into practice by making unhurried and thorough assessments of the situations, applying wise discernment, and choosing the most appropriate responses — that we trim misery down. It is by remaining awake, alert, attentive, aware, and appreciative of life in the present moment that we reduce anguish. It is through mindful living that we diminish agony and tribulation in the world.

In a nutshell, conscious living is the way out of suffering.

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

 

Looking Deeply and Letting Go

I agree with Socrates who said that “an unexamined life is not worth living.” I believe that it’s our duty to examine life and consciously unlearn the unwholesome notions that we have unconsciously learned.

“The less you know, the more you believe,” is a saying that points to the fact that many of us hold on to unwholesome beliefs that most likely we absorbed during that time in our lives when we hadn’t yet developed the ability of critical analysis. It is unfortunate that many of us, even after reaching adulthood, still choose, perhaps out of fear, not only not to analyze our beliefs to test their veracity, but also not to explore other points of view.  It is clear that this tendency to close ourselves up to other ideas, this stubborn determination to ignore other perspectives, and this unwillingness to change, even when evidence of the inaccuracy of our positions is presented, brings about suffering not only for others, but also for our own selves. This realization alone should be enough to encourage us to look deeply and honestly within ourselves in order to let go of those beliefs that do not contribute to the betterment of life.

Enter mindfulness!

Mindfulness is a practice aimed at alleviating and eliminating suffering. It takes us to a place of deep observation of the present moment and invites us to explore. It removes the fog of delusion and ignorance and allows us to see clearly. It connects us with what is real and true and liberates us from our old and inaccurate beliefs. It develops in us the humility to recognize and calmly accept that we have been holding on to suffering-creating views. It shows us an universe of possibilities and empowers us to let go of what does not serve us anymore. It gives us freedom to change and in doing so, improve not only our own lives, but other people’s lives as well.

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

Noticing and Exploring Whatever Arises

Mindfulness meditation is quite simple, but it’s not easy.

In the beginning of this journey of mindfulness practice, the goal is to develop the ability to concentrate attention and notice the details of what is being observed. This practice of focusing the mind is done by choosing an “object of attention” — the breath, for instance — and setting the intention to pay attention to it. A great aid to keep the focus on this object of attention is to be interested in it, investigating it with curiosity — with a so-called “beginner’s mind” — exploring the physical sensations of breathing, and discovering it anew.

Now, while one is focusing, or trying to focus on the object of attention, the mind wanders. This is common, expected, and inevitable; nothing wrong there. So, when the practitioner notices that she is lost in thoughts, she is called to congratulate herself for noticing, acknowledge what the distraction was, gently release it, and bring her attention back to the chosen object of attention. Quite simple, but not necessarily easy.

 

This practice sharpens our noticing skills, and develops one-pointed focused attention. It brings awareness to the non-stop internal chatter, the proliferation of distracting and mostly non-constructive thoughts, and reveals how transient and impermanent thoughts are.

Once the practitioners get a good understanding of this practice and develop the ability to retain focus for some time, they are introduced to an expanded, and more encompassing meditation. Rather than choosing beforehand one object to pay attention to, they are instructed to investigate with curiosity whatever arises and calls for attention during the silent meditation. This is known as choiceless awareness meditation. It is also called open awareness or open monitoring. Again, it is quite simple but not necessarily easy.

In this meditation, practitioners are initially instructed to ground themselves, noticing sensations, and becoming aware of the body in the here-now, and the body breathing. “Sit, and know you are sitting. Breathe, and know you are breathing. Breathing in, know you’re breathing in. Breathing out, know you’re breathing out.” Once they settle down and settle in — once, as we say, they bring their minds to inhabit their bodies, or once mind and body are together in the present moment — they are invited to investigate with greater curiosity whatever catches their attention, such as thoughts, emotions, sounds, body sensations, etc. Whatever arises becomes the object to be investigated and known.

This practice can be divided in the following four phases: 1 – Settle, 2 – Open up, 3 – Explore, and 4 – Return. Here’s an explanation of each phase:

SETTLE: Rest in the awareness of your body and your body breathing. Settle down and settle in. This will be your ‘anchor,’ a safe place to return to whenever you get distracted, agitated, or lost.

OPEN UP: Once you have settled, give yourself permission to observe other experiences. Open up and remain open to whatever arises. Notice whatever becomes predominant in your field of awareness.

EXPLORE: Investigate with curiosity what is calling you, what is asking your attention. Remember that there is a difference between observing thoughts and emotions, and being lost in them. Stay as the observer (*).

RETURN: If at any moment you get confused, agitated, or lost, return, with gentleness and compassion, to the anchor. Reconnect with the body and the body breathing in this moment, and once you feel settled, return to your practice, opening up and exploring again.

(*) It is important to have it clear when you are observing thoughts and emotions and when you were caught, carried away, and lost in them. It is important to develop the ability to stand in the role of the observer, the one who is watching the movie that is unfolding. The following reminders may be helpful: “Observe that you are observing. Notice that you are noticing. Be mindful that you are being mindful.”

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

 

Observing Thoughts

A man comes to a revered master and implores, “Please, help me. I am suffering immensely. I am restless. Please, pacify my mind.” The wise man replies, “Show me your mind and I will pacify it.” Unable to fulfill the request, the man leaves. After some time he returns with the same plea, “Master, please, help me. I am suffering. I am afflicted. Please, pacify my mind.” Once again the wise man commands, “Show me your mind and I will pacify it.”  The man responds,“Master, I looked for my mind everywhere, but I could not find it.” “There!” says the teacher, “It’s already pacified.”

……..

There are those times when we are thinking without realizing that we are thinking. Thoughts are running amok, but we cannot see that we are lost in thoughts. We hop on a train of thought and travel on that train for a great amount of time, and then make an immediate connection and hop on another train, without ever disembarking from those trains of thought. We go through life as if we were anesthetized and numb. Many call it “sleepwalking through life.”

Then comes a magic moment of awakening and awareness, when we catch ourselves thinking, and we engage in an exploration: “Oh, I have been thinking. What have I been thinking? Where did this thought come from? ”

Then we reflect on the moment of mindfulness:“What happened when I became aware of the thought: did it get stronger, weaker, or did it fade away? Am I able to observe the thoughts without being carried away by them?”

As we get more curious, we may ask ourselves: “And what is a thought anyway? What is this thing we call ‘thought?’  What can I say about the characteristics, elements, and qualities of a thought? Actually, not much: a thought is pretty much nothing. It’s ephemeral and lacks substance. Thoughts are just thoughts.”

And as the inquiry continues, other questions arise, such as, “Who is having these thoughts? Who is doing the thinking? Who is the thinker?” and to add even another level of complexity to the exploration, another question emerges: “And who is asking all these questions?”

As we continue with this mindfulness practice, we soon begin to free ourselves from these dictators of the mind, and we become able to ponder, “Why do I spend so much time and energy with thoughts? Thoughts are not real. Thoughts are just thoughts. They are here one moment, and they vanish. I am not my thoughts.”

And whenever we notice that we are enthralled in the drama, we can remember to say to ourselves, “It’s just a thought!”

The truth is that no matter how thoroughly we may look for the one who is doing the thinking and the one who is asking the questions, we will not be able to find anyone. There’s no one to be found. The mystery is that we know that we are knowing, but we don’t know who is knowing. The one who is knowing cannot be found.

It is a quandary, and realizing that we cannot find the mind, that we cannot find who is doing the thinking, and that we cannot find who is asking the questions, is the finding.

Not finding the mind is the finding. Not finding who is doing the thinking is the finding. Not finding who is asking the questions is the finding. Not finding is the finding.

Yes, sometimes the saying, “Life is a mystery to be lived, not an enigma to be solved” makes perfect sense.

……..

Perhaps you may enjoy reading the poem Who Am I When I Am Not?

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

Accepting Reality and Alleviating Suffering

Let’s be clear: it is perfectly valid to desire things to be different than they are, but the first step to change anything is to accept ‘what is.’ The famous quote of Carl Rogers, the humanistic psychologist, speaks volumes about this. He wrote, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

All of us experience suffering, but what generates it? A big part of the suffering we experience comes from not accepting reality as it is and desiring it to be what it is not.  We suffer when people, things, and events are not as we wish them to be, but we have to understand that we will also suffer when people, things, and events are exactly as we want them to be because sooner or later a change is going to come and they will no longer be as they are. Change is unavoidable, and our clinging to impermanent states and things — our desire for them not to change — is a sure cause of suffering.

Not only we suffer, but we continue to suffer because we wrongly believe that the way to placate our suffering is to seek pleasure. So we engage again in craving and clinging, and we end up trapped in this vicious circle, spending our lives chasing people, things, events, and situations that, we imagine, will fill that void inside ourselves.

But no pleasure, no accomplishment, no person, no thing, no event, nor any situation is capable of producing lasting satisfaction. If we could reduce the craving for what we want, and the aversion directed at what we don’t want, we surely would suffer a lot less.  We would not spend so much time judging and saying to ourselves, “I approve this. I disapprove that. I like this. I don’t like that. I want this. I don’t want that.”  We would not try to hold on so tightly to the wanted, nor engage in vain attempts of trying to push the unwanted away. We would accept reality as it presents itself, and not waste energy futilely fighting it. We would be at peace with the inexorable and perpetual change.

In this aspect, mindfulness practice is extremely helpful because it is the practice that develops in us the ability to be aware and not cling.

Once and for all, we need to internalize the idea that the beginning of the process of liberation from suffering is to make a wise assessment of reality and say to ourselves, “This is what it is, and from here I will use wise discernment to choose the best courses of action. I am aware of change and I am not clinging. I will be aware of change and I will not cling. I will remember that nothing whatsoever should be clung to as I, me, or mine.”

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

 

The End of Suffering

As Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” I believe that our journey during this passage here on Earth should be one of seeking greater understanding in order to experience the cessation of suffering. Liberation from suffering — the attainment of a calm peace and lasting happiness — comes from the practice of deep and diligent observation and examination of life. I believe that one of the most important things we can do during our lifetime is to continuously and carefully examine our beliefs in order to consciously unlearn the wrong notions we may have unconsciously learned and adopted. This practice of looking deeply into the nature of reality brings about a greater awareness which makes it easier to identify and remove wrong perceptions. This expanded view and comprehension also brings us more peace by reducing our judgment, criticism, and condemnation, and by enhancing our acceptance, compassion, and love.

Through diligent observation we become acutely aware, for instance, of the continuous transformation and impermanence of everything. This realization removes a major source of suffering in life. If we come to recognize that nothing is created and nothing is lost, but everything is transformed; if we realize, by detailed observation, that something cannot become nothing; if we understand that there is no birth and no death, but all that there is is continuous transformation, continuation, and reintegration with the whole, we remove one of the major obstacles for lasting happiness: the fear of death.

Through conscientious scrutiny, we also come to realize that there is no isolated self, that we all are intensely interrelated, and that, therefore, as the Buddha said, “nothing, whatsoever, should be clung to as I, me, or mine,” because this clinging is a source of suffering.

If we want to look deeply into the nature of reality and have a clearer understanding, mindfulness meditation is probably the best practice. In this aspect, it is very much like science, and meditators are very much like scientists who observe phenomena thoroughly, with great curiosity and ardency,  while constantly checking to make sure they are not lost in a territory of wrong perceptions, fantasies, and illusions.

I would like to encourage you to dedicate yourself to the mission of observing and understanding yourself and your own patterns of behavior. This shall expand your ability to make wiser choices and alleviate whatever suffering you may be experiencing.

And if we are able to continue on this path, practicing mindfulness diligently, perhaps we can become examples of lives well lived. Perhaps we will inspire others to engage in this work of paying attention to life, and perhaps this is what will reveal to them a way out of suffering. This is a noble endeavor and a greater reminder that our practice is not selfish; we don’t practice for ourselves alone.

……..

Nirvana (Sanskrit) or Nibbana (Pali) are words that describe a state of being in which people experience the extinction of the fires of attachment, hatred and delusion that cause suffering.

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

Reintegrating with the Whole

Leslie Lott, my dear friend and the author of “Heaven’s Perspective,” wrote:

“When we are in a body, we often feel separate from the others in the universe. We are not, of course. All things are part of the larger ONE. Still, when in a body, our skin is a physical barrier that separates us from others. But when our bodies die, the barrier of separation is gone! When we transition back to non-physical, there is a joyful and conscious reintegration with the whole.

To understand this more clearly, imagine a beautiful soap bubble floating outdoors in the sunlight. The light hits it and it shines with different colors as it moves. Then, suddenly it pops. That which was within the bubble does not suddenly disappear, does it? Certainly the outer barrier of the bubble is gone, but what about what was inside that beautiful bubble? It merely merges back with the rest of the air.

In a similar way, when our physical bodies die, when our body bubbles burst, that which is within us– our divinity, our essence, the soul– reintegrates with the larger ONE from whence it came. We maintain our awareness of self as an individual while merging back into the oneness of that which is called heaven, our true home.

This realization came to me as Jack Bloomfield, Piero Falci and I sat at the beach this morning gently releasing One Planet United. It occurred to me that this is not an ending for One Planet United, but rather a merging of the ideas from OPU back into the larger universe. The paradigm shift from seeing it as an ending to seeing it as a merging into, a reintegration into the larger whole felt so incredibly good that I’ve decided to ask my loved ones to have a joyful Reintegration Celebration when my own bubble bursts and I return to true home.

Blessed be.

So be it, and so it is.”

……..

For many years, with great passion and dedication, we operated a nonprofit organization, but the the time came when we had to let it go. All of us who were originally involved with One Planet United were now contributing to the betterment of the world in other ways, and we didn’t have the time to attend to the demands of keeping the organization operating as it should. We tried to find new leadership, we tried to pass the baton on, but we were not successful. After many attempts to keep it afloat, we decided that it was time to close and gently release it into the Universe. So we decided to do a little ceremony at the beach during sunrise, when we would reminisce about the organization, and say ‘Goodbye.’

There was a little sadness, but also a calm agreement that it was the right thing to do. We understood the changing nature of everything, and were ready to let it go. OPU had served its purpose and played itself out.

But something unexpected happened that morning: a calm, delicious, and nourishing experience. As we were talking about One Planet United we had this sudden realization that OPU didn’t die. It became evident to us that it’s mission and vision remained alive and strong within us. It had always existed and always will. “Embrace diversity, promote unity, and create community,” the phrase that summarizes OPU’s mission, is what we and many others around the globe do, day in and day out. This realization was a great life and death insight for us. In that moment, everything became clear and made sense. As we gently released it, we felt OPU lovingly reintegrating with the whole. The nonprofit organization was no more, but what OPU stood for was, is, and will always be.

Birthless. Deathless.

“There is a Light that lights every man that comes into the world. That Light is Eternal, All-Powerful and Imperishable. Only that which is subject to birth is subject to death. The Light is the extension of God into man. It is not born nor can it die.” ~ Douglas K. DeVorss , in Eulogy for Baird T. Spalding,  in The Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East, Volume 6.

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

 

 

 

I Want to Not Want

So many desires and so much unrest created by this constant wanting! Is it possible to be content? Is it possible to want less? Is it possible to not want?

Well, I guess I am wanting something, right now. As I write these words, I want to understand, accept, and be at peace with the fact that perhaps I will always want, and that wanting is of the nature of being human. I want to understand, accept, and be at peace with the fact that in this life we will always be presented with choices, that our choices will bring about changes, and that change is the natural  movement of the Universe.

What else do I want?

I want to be aware of my likes and dislikes, my wants and don’t wants, my cravings and aversions, and practice to calmly tame my impulses and navigate through this ocean of desires.

Actually, I want to want less. Actually, I want to not want.

I want to be able to expand the amount of time between receiving a stimulus and choosing a response. I want to make thorough assessments, apply wise discernment, and improve my ability to make the best possible decisions.

I am encouraged by the unquestionable truth that all of us can make our lives better by consciously examining them. I want to remember always that “an unexamined life is not worth living,” and keep examining my existence. I want to be awake, alert, attentive, aware, and appreciative of what is going on in each present moment, enjoying the beauty that surrounds me, seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary, seeing magic, mystery, and miracles everywhere. I want to immerse myself in this moment, this one — not the previous one, nor the next one — knowing that if I do this, the best version of myself and the best life I can live will emerge naturally.

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

 

 

 

Coping with Discomfort

Mindfulness practice makes us better able to recognize pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feelings, and notice how pleasant events generate attachment, unpleasant ones are associated with aversion, and neutral ones with delusion.

Learning to cope with the discomfort we experience during formal meditation practice is a great training to enhance the quality of our lives because it may lead to the reduction of mindless reactivity. It develops patience and endurance, and augments the time between receiving a stimulus and choosing a mindful response.

Many unpleasant sensations may come up during formal meditation practices, especially during those of longer duration. We instruct our students how to work with physical and non-physical discomfort when they show up. We ask them to notice the pain and the urge to immediately do something about it, and we advise them to hold on and do nothing for a while, if they so can — if this option is available to them — and just observe what is going on. We ask them to investigate with a “beginner’s mind” the physical sensations, thoughts and emotions that may be arising, without pushing them away, without hiding from or running away from them, but getting closer and staying with them a little longer without rushing to react. We tell them to think of the unpleasant sensations as guests who they should welcome and treat honorably. Many times, the mere introduction of this element of curiosity reduces the discomfort, or dissipates it. If this does not work, we instruct our students to remove the focus from the pain and refocus on some other ‘object of attention,’ such as the breath. Many times this profound and detailed observation of the breathing process has a calming effect which prevents a thoughtless reaction to the pain.  It demonstrates that moving the focus of attention to something else other than the discomfort, and observing it with curiosity is another effective way of handling it. Finally, if meditators decide that they have to readjust their postures we ask them to do so in a very mindful and well thought-out way. Our instructions emphasize the need to take time, not rush, and be very mindful of the entire process. With many possible variations, the instructions may sound like the following:  “Once you have decided that you really want to move, imagine how you will do it, and mentally rehearse the steps you will take to readjust your posture. Play a mental movie, if you will, of how you will move before actually moving. Once this step has been completed, then go ahead and move, but make sure you do it mindfully. This should not be a reaction, but a thoughtful response to the pain and discomfort. Move mindfully. Observe the way you move, observe the physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts, and mentally compare the actual movement with the one you imagined. After moving, check again to see how you feel. Compare the sensations now with those of moments ago.”

This training is valuable because it makes us better able to stay in the middle of uncomfortable situations. The practice weakens those conditioned, automatic, fast, habitual, mindless reactions and strengthens the mindfulness mediated responses. It gives us better tools to deal with the stressors in our lives.

We ask our students to become mindful of their automatic reactions and to make an assessment to determine if those habitual reactions are producing outcomes that enhance the quality of their lives. Perhaps this is the case, so there’s no need to change, but if they are not satisfied, we encourage them to consider using mindfulness skills to explore alternatives, contemplate new options, and try something new, something different that perhaps may be capable of making their lives better. We remind them that “Madness is doing the same things expecting different results,” and we encourage them to ask themselves, “What could I do differently to improve the quality of my life? Am I willing to give it a fair try?”

The training of staying with the unpleasant sensations and refraining from reacting instinctively is of great use in daily life. It allows us to stay comfortable in the middle of uncomfortable situations, augment the time between stimulus and response, which allows to look again at the situation with removed curiosity, see the new in the old, make a better assessment, see new options, and use wise discernment to decide on the best course of action.

Imagine the following internal dialogue: “Oh, I have been challenged. I have been wounded. I feel the urge to react. Wait a second, I have done this many times before and what was the outcome? Not a good one. Perhaps I can do what they told me to do. Let me investigate my physical sensations, my emotions, and my thoughts. Yes, I feel a tightening in my throat, a contraction in my chest, a pain in the stomach. My hands a sweaty. My heart is racing. My breath is shallow and fast. I feel anger and rage. I feel aversion to this person and his behavior. Noticing my dislike. Noticing my aversion. Noticing my desire to strike back. Oh, wait a minute. I see: this is my ego at work. Oh, the ego is bruised. Let me be curious. Why is this person acting out this way? Oh, I see. Let me go back to my breath. Let me breathe consciously. OK. I am here now. Everything is OK. Let me make a wise assessment of the situation, use wise discernment, and choose the best possible course of action. I feel that urge to react subsiding. Interesting! OK, I don’t need to go down the same path with my automatic, habitual, mindless reactions. I can choose a mindfulness mediated response. OK. What am I going to do? How am I going to respond? Let me think this over before I move. And let me move mindfully.”

Formal meditation practice develops patience and endurance to stay comfortable in the middle of the uncomfortable. And why would we want to do all this? Because, hopefully, we want to improve the quality of our lives; we want to enhance our physical, mental and emotional well-being by reducing the wear and tear caused by chronic stress. Hopefully, we are ready to let go of old patterns of behavior that do not serve us anymore. Hopefully we are ready to try new things.
We have to remember to ask ourselves “What can I do differently to improve the quality of my life?”
Since it is practically impossible to be mindful all the time, our goal should be to increase the number of mindful moments during our days. One of the phrases that mindfulness practitioners repeat often is “Mindful moments, brief moments, many times,” because, as we know, “It’s not difficult to be mindful; difficult it is to remember to be mindful.”

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“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”  ~ James Baraz

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Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com

This is a good moment, and I will remember it

If a good life is a collection of good moments, then remember to mindfully make of every moment the best it can be!

Stay alert to notice good moments whenever they arise, and do your best to capture them by bringing down your plane from the high altitude of your thoughts and landing it on this present moment, with all the feelings it brings about. Pause to mindfully notice the weather, the sights and sounds, the thoughts and emotions, the sensations in your body, and take it all in. Record the experience in your memory by saying to yourself, “This is a good moment, and I will remember it!”

Not only notice the good moments that arise spontaneously, but also create joyful moments deliberately. Do your best to populate your days with things, activities, people, and places you love by creating and spending time in environments you love, nurturing good friendships, and choosing to do the activities you like.

Create the life you want to live by filling your days with moments of joy.

Appreciate! Be grateful!

……..


 

Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.


 

Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

Silent_Peace_Walk_Cover_for_Kindle

– “Silent Peace Walk”

www.PieroFalci.com